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LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
RIVERSIDE 




SONGS OF EXILE 



onnP ^aS onnfefo 



My soul waiteth for the Lord more than watchmen look for the 
morning, yea, more than watchmen for the morning. Ps. czzx, 6. 



rvnat 

SONGS OF EXILE 

BY HEBREW POETS 

TRANSLATED BY 

NINA DAVIS 



PHILADELPHIA 
The Jewish Publication Society of America 



Published for the 

Jewish Historical Society of England 
MACMILLAN & CO., LTD., LONDON 
1901 



TO MY FATHER 



CONTENTS 



TITLE AUTHOR PACK 

Prelude : Ode on Chazanuth 9 

The Prophet Jeremiah by the 

Cave of Machpelah Elasar ben Kalir 12 

The Prophet Jeremiah and the 

Personification of Israel . . . Attributed to Elasar ben Kalir . . 18 

A Song of Redemption .... Solomon Ibn Gabirol 24 

Morning Song Solomon Ibn Gabirol 29 

A Song of Love Unknown 30 

Ode to Zion Jehudah Halevi 36 

Where Shall I Find Thee ? . . Jehudah Halevi 44 

Song of Israel to God Jehudah Halevi 47 

Israel's Duration Jehudah Halevi 49 

The Lord is My Portion . . . Jehudah Halevi 50 

Song of the Oppressed .... Jehudah Halevi 51 

Longing Jehudah Halevi 52 

A Love Song Jehudah Halevi 53 

Wedding Song Jehudah Halevi 54 

To the Glory of Jerusalem . . Jehudah Halevi 58 

Loved of My Soul Jehudah Halevi or Israel Nagara 60 

Song of Loneliness Jehudah Halevi 63 

The Fast of Tebeth Joseph bar Samuel Tob Elem . . 64 

Hymn of Weeping Amittai 68 



CONTENTS 



TITLE AUTHOR PACK 

Hymn of Refuge Isaac ben Samuel and Solomon 

ben Samuel 7 

I Am the Suppliant Baruch ben Samuel 72 

The Burning of the Law . . . Meir of Rothenburg 82 

Dirge for the Ninth of Ab . . . Unknown 92 

Hoshana Unknown 98 

The Ark of the Covenant . . . From the Talmud 102 

The Ideal Minister From the Talmud in 

The Giving of the Law . . . . From Midrash Rabbah 115 

The Ages of Man Attributed to Abraham Ibn Ezra . 118 

The Song of Chess Attributed to Abraham Ibn Ezra . 126 

Sketch of the Game of Chess . Bon Senior Abn Yachia 132 

Poem on Chess Unknown 140 

The Death of Moses From Midrash Tanchuma .... 143 



PRELUDE 



n Cba3anutb 

A RISE and sing, thou deathless melody- 
Life's blended song 
Bearing on wings of sound aloft with thee 
A mortal throng. 

Lo, living yet, beloved, lingering strain, 

My harp of old, 
Voice of a patience that hath borne the pain 

Of years untold ! 

Each olden chord awaketh, every tone, 

Soaring at length, 
Mingling a mighty gladness with a groan 

Of fallen strength. 



io SONGS Of EXILE 

f 

Angels be gathering Earth's ascending prayer, 

That, heavenward bound, 
Shall deck the Throne with wreathed garlands fair 

Of wafted sound. 

Song of the ages, lo ! the fettered soul 

Shall break its bond, 
And, wrapt in thee, look forth upon the whole 

Of Heaven beyond. 

Sing on, sweet minstrel, thine immortal song 

My harp for aye, 
Vision of hope to men that live and long 

And pass away. 



SOJVGS OF EXILE 



THE PROPHET 

JEREMIAH 

BY THE 

CAVE OF MACHPELAH 

ELASAR BEN KALIR'S birthplace is unknown, and the 
dates given for his birth range from 800 to 1000 C. E. He 
was the creator of a new form of Piyutim, and was fol- 
lowed by an imitative school of Paitanim. His style is 
condensed, obscure, and full of allusions to Hagadic pas- 
sages. Of this allusive style, the first line of the seventh 
stanza in the following poem (^13 IT nD) may be taken 
as an example. Tradition makes Jacob linger for four- 
teen years, on his way to Mesopotamia, in the houses of 
study of Shem and Eber. Other legends are told of 
Jacob's love of learning. Kalir's compositions number 
over two hundred. 

Stanza i, line 12, Leviticus xxvi, 45. 

Stanza 2, line 10, Jeremiah v, 12. 

Stanza 3, line 6, Genesis xv, i. 

Stanza 5, line 6, Leviticus xxvi, 42. 

Stanza 6, line 11, 2 Chronicles xxiv, 20. 

Stanza 7, line i, Jacob. See Bereshith Rabbah,6y. 6 
and 68 : 5 ; and Talmud Babli, Mcgillah i6 b and 17*; 
line 12, Jeremiah li, 5. 



JEREMIAH B Y MA CHPELAH 13 



propbet Seremiab l>s tbe Cave ot 
flilacbpelab 

BY KALIR 



"THE Prophet standing by the fathers' graves, 
With soul o'erwhelmed speaks, for solace 

craves : 

" How can ye lie at rest, beloved ones, 
While sharpened swords consume your captive 

sons ? 

Where now, O fathers, lurks your merit rare 
In that vast wilderness of land laid bare ? 
They cry each one with lamentation sore 
For children banished, sons that are no more ; 
They pray imploring with a cry for grace 
To Him who dwelleth in the realms of space ; 
Ah ! where is now God's promise made of old : 
' I will not my first covenant withhold ' ? " 



14 SONGS OF EXILE 

Changed is My glory, 
From them departed ; 
They have not feared Me ; 
Dread have they known not ; 
From them I hid Me, 
And still they turned not, 
Nor to Me yearned they ; 
Shall I restrain Me, 
Hearing them utter : 
" Our God He is not " ? 

Then Father Abraham with bitter cry 
Implored, a suppliant lowly, God on high : 
" Ten times in vain for them great trials I bore, 
For woe ! mine eyes have seen destruction sore ; 
Ah ! where is now Thy promise made of old : 
'Abram, thou shalt not fear, thy shield behold ' ? " 

Far have they wandered, 
Erred after strange gods, 



JEREMIAH B Y MACHPELAH 15 

And they have hewn them 
Cisterns which hold not ; 
Shall I restrain Me, 
When they regard not 
My sacred mandates ? 

And thus did Isaac all his sorrow tell 
Unto the Lord who high in Heav'n doth dwell : 
" Wherefore was I appointed to be slain ? 
My seed is crushed and low in bondage lain ; 
Ah ! where is now Thy promise made of old : 
' My covenant with Isaac I will hold ' ? " 

Unto My prophet 
Sorely rebellious, 
They have polluted 
My holy mountain : 
Lo, I am weary 
With ever hearing 
Their cry which riseth 



16 SONGS OF EXILE 

From the earth upwards ; 
Shall I restrain Me, 
Seeing the slaughter 
Of Zechariah ? 

And then spake he with learning deep endowed, 
His form with shame and bitter sorrow bowed : 
"My little ones I reared with holy care, 
How are they caught within the fatal snare ! 
Ah ! dearly have I paid a thousandfold 
My erring children's debt of guilt untold." 
Thus spake the faithful shepherd in his woe, 
Covered with ashes and in dust laid low : 
" My tender sheep in genial shelter reared, 
Lo ! how are they before their season sheared ! 
Ah ! where is now Thy promise made of old : 
'There shall not be one widowed in the fold ' ? " 
With grievous voices all the air is rent ; 
With sobs doth Leah to her despair give vent, 
And Rachel weeping for her children dead, 



JEREMIA H BY MA CHPELAH 17 

Zilpah with face of anguish, heart of dread, 
And Bilhah grieving for the evil day, 
Her hands to God uplifted in dismay. 

Turn, O ye perfect ones, 

Unto your rest again ; 

I will fulfil for you 

All that your hearts desire : 

Down unto Babylon 

With you My Presence went ; 

Surely will I return 

Your sons' captivity. 



i8 SONGS OF EXILE 



THE PROPHET 

JEREMIAH 

AND THE 

PERSONIFICATION OK ISRAEL 



THIS POEM is attributed to ELASAR BEN KALIR. 

Stanza i, line i, " Tirzah," Song of Songs vi, 4 ; line 5, 
" Hilkiah's son," Jeremiah. 

Stanza 2, line 2, Isaiah xxx, 15; line 8, Isaiah xix, 24; 
line 9, Psalm cxxii, 4 ; line 10, the six hundred thousand 
redeemed from Egypt. 

Stanza 3, line 5, Jeremiah xxxi, 21. 

Stanza 4, line 12, Lamentations i, i. 



JEREMIAH AND ISRAEL 19 



TTbe propbet ^eremiab ano tbe person* 
ification of Hsrael 

CULL in her glory, she as Tirzah fair 

Hath sinned and fallen ; lo ! the angels weep 
There at the threshold of her sanctuary. 
Forth from the Temple, over Zion's mount 
Wandered Hilkiah's son, and chanced to meet 
A woman, beauteous, but with grief distraught. 
"Appalled I ask, in name of God and man ! 
Art thou dread phantom ? Art thou human 

form ? 

For while thy beauty mouldeth woman fair, 
Awe shadoweth spirit from the vast unknown ! " 

" I am no phantom nor vile clay of earth ; 
I shall be known when I return in rest. 
Lo ! of the one am I ! of three am I ! 
Lo ! of six hundred thousand, and of twelve ! 



SOWGS OF EXILE 



Yea, and behold me of the seventy-one ! 
O Prophet ! know : the ' one ' is Abraham ; 
' Three ' be the fathers ; verily in me 
Behold the third, God's messenger of peace ; 
The ' twelve ' I show thee be the tribes of God, 
Six hundred thousand of redeemed men ; 
And their Sanhedrin wrought of seventy-one." 

" List to my counsel : O return ! repent ! 
Since thou art thus endowed, so proud in state, 
'Tis fitting that thou shouldst exultant rise, 
To glory in the good awaiting thee ; 
'BACKSLIDING DAUGHTER!' cast that brand of 
shame ! " 

" Can I rejoice, or lift my voice in song ? 
Behold my children given to the foe ! 
My prophets martyred, yea, their life-blood spilt ! 
My kings, my princes, and my holy priests 
Borne into distant exile, fetter-bound. 



JEREMIAH AND ISRAEL 



Far from mine House the Sacred Presence fled, 
Shunning the place of mine iniquity ; 
Yea, thence did my Beloved flee away, 
And left the beauty of my tent to wane 
And set in darkness nevermore to rise. 
How doth the city, once with heroes thronged, 
Great 'mid the nations, now sit solitary ! " 
Pausing, she glided to the Prophet's side, 
And with imploring utterance whispering spake : 
" Plead to thy God for this my bitter wound ; 
Beseech Him for the tempest- stricken soul ; 
Until He softened say : ' It is enough ! ' 
And save my sons from exile and the sword." 

With suppliant's plea he prayed before his 

Lord: 

" O God of mercy ! let compassion flow, 
E'en as a father pitieth his son ; " 
And cried : " Doth not a father mourn his 

child 



SONGS OF EXILE 



Carried away to harsh captivity ? 

And woe unto the son in exile chained, 

When at his father's board his place is void ! " 

" Prophet ! arise, depart ! " the vision bade : 
" Call now the sleeping fathers from their rest ; 
And Moses, yea, and Aaron shall arise ; 
O let the shepherds peal to Heaven a wail, 
For lo ! the wolves of night have torn the 
lamb ! " 

The Prophet's voice with mighty yearning 

swelled, 
And shook with heaving sobs Machpelah's 

cave : 

" O glorious sires ! lift up your voice and weep : 
Your sons have erred ; behold them captives 

bound ! 
If they, weak mortals, have transgressed the 

bond, 



JEREMIAH AND ISRAEL 23 

Where, fathers ! doth your merit slumber now, 
That sanctified of old the covenant ? " 

"What crave ye, sons, from Me? The doom is 

fixed. 

This is My judgment ; this is My decree. 
The shrine is desolate, bereft of men ; 
None cometh in upon the solemn day ; 
Behold, the steps of My beloved fail." 

" But Thou wilt yet restore them as of old, 

O Thou Sustainer ! Thou that givest strength ! 

And pity Zion ; for the time is come." 



24 SOJVGS Of EXILE 



A SONG 

OF 

REDEMPTION 



SOLOMON IBN GABIROL, grammarian, philosopher, 
and poet, was born in Spain, in 1021 C.E. His classical 
style of verse replaced the language of the early Pai- 
tantm, and brought the sacred poetry of the Spanish- 
Arabian Jews towards its perfection. This SONG OF 
REDEMPTION (H^tU) is a Sabbath morning hymn recited 
between Passover and Pentecost. 

Stanza i, line 6, " remnant tenth," Isaiah vi, 13 ; " shall 
cause man's strife to cease," Isaiah xix, 24. 

Stanza 2, line i, Lamentations v, 20. 

Stanza 3, line 8, Song of Songs ii, 12. 

Stanza 4, lines 7, 8, alludes to the persecutions suffered 
by the Jews under both the Crescent and the Cross. 

Stanza 7, line 2, "Ariel," Isaiah xxix, 1,2; line 4, Dan- 
iel xii ; line 8, Isaiah, lix, 20 ; line 12, Psalm xc, 15. 



A SONG OF REDEMPTION 25 



H Sons of TRefcemption 

BY SOLOMON IBN GABIROL 

CAPTIVE of sorrow on a foreign shore, 

A handmaid as 'neath Egypt's slavery : 
Through the dark day of her bereavement sore 

She looketh unto Thee. 
Restore her sons, O Mighty One of old ! 
Her remnant tenth shall cause man's strife to 

cease. 

O speed the message ; swiftly be she told 
Good tidings, which Elijah shall unfold : 
Daughter of Zion, sing aloud ! behold 
Thy Prince of Peace ! 

Wherefore wilt Thou forget us, Lord, for aye ? 

Mercy we crave ! 
O Lord, we hope in Thee alway, 

Our King will save ! 



26 SONGS OF EXILE 

Surely a limit boundeth every woe, 

But mine enduring anguish hath no end ; 
My grievous years are spent in ceaseless flow, 

My wound hath no amend. 
O'erwhelmed, my helm doth fail, no hand is 

strong 

To steer the bark to port, her longed-for aim. 

How long, O Lord, wilt Thou my doom prolong ? 

When shall be heard the dove's sweet voice 

of song ? 

O leave us not to perish for our wrong, 
Who bear Thy Name ! 

Wherefore wilt Thou forget us, Lord, for aye ? 

Mercy we crave ! 
O Lord, we hope in Thee alway, 

Our King will save ! 

Wounded and crushed, beneath my load I sigh, 
Despised and abject, outcast, trampled low; 



A SONG Of REDEMPTION 27 

How long, O Lord, shall I of violence cry, 

My heart dissolve with woe ? 
How many years, without a gleam of light, 
Has thraldom been our lot, our portion 

pain! 
With Ishmael as a lion in his might, 

And Persia as an owl of darksome night, 
Beset on either side, behold our plight 
Betwixt the twain. 

Wherefore wilt Thou forget us, Lord, for aye ? 

Mercy we crave ! 
O Lord, we hope in Thee alway, 

Our King will save ! 

Is this thy voice ? 
The voice of captive Ariel's woe unhealed ? 

Virgin of Israel, arise, rejoice ! 
In Daniel's vision, lo, the end is sealed : 
When Michael on the height 



a8 SONGS Of EXILE 

Shall stand aloft in strength, 
And shout aloud in might, 
And a Redeemer come to Zion at length. 
Amen, amen, behold 
The Lord's decree foretold. 
E'en as Thou hast our souls afflicted sore, 
So wilt Thou make us glad for evermore ! 

Wherefore wilt Thou forget us, Lord, for aye ? 

Mercy we crave ! 
O Lord, we hope in Thee alway, 

Our King will save 1 



MORNING SONG 29 



Song 

BY SOLOMON IBN GABIROL 
A T the dawn I seek Thee, 

Refuge and rock sublime, 
Set my prayer before Thee in the morning, 

And my prayer at eventime. 
I before Thy greatness 

Stand, and am afraid : 
All my secret thoughts Thine eye beholdeth 

Deep within my bosom laid. 
And withal what is it 

Heart and tongue can do ? 
What is this my strength, and what is even 

This the spirit in me too ? 
But verily man's singing 

May seem good to Thee; 
So will I thank Thee, praising, while there 

dwelleth 
Yet the breath of God in me. 



30 SOJVGS OF EXILE 



A SONG 

OF 

LOVE 



THE AUTHOR of A SONG OF LOVE is unknown. It is 
a Sabbath morning hymn recited between Passover and 
Pentecost. It takes the not unusual form of a dialogue 
between God and Israel. 

Stanza i, line 9, Ruth iii, 13. 

Stanza 2, line 9, Jeremiah xxxii, 8. 

Stanza 4, line 9, Genesis xli, 13. 

Stanza 5, line 3, " Tried in the furnace blaze of dire af- 
fliction," Isaiah xlviii, 10; line 8, Genesis xxix, 19. 

Stanza 6, line 9, Genesis xxix, 2. 

Stanza 7, line 9, Ruth iii, 10. 

Stanza 9, line 4, Psalm Ixviii, 30. 



A SONG OF LOVE 31 



H Sono of xove 

/VA Y noble love ! 

O dove of wondrous grace ! 
What aileth thee that thou dost weep in woe ? 
Messiah cometh unto thee : then go, 

Fly to thy resting-place. 
I am thy Saviour Who will ransom thee, 

Thy hope from ancient day ; 

Know that in truth I say : 
I, thy Redeemer, I will set thee free, 
My noble love ! 

My Mighty Love ! 

Where is Thy troth of yore, 
The vision of the seers in ages gone, 
Proclaiming to the lone, the outcast one, 

Whose glory is no more, 
That she shall yet be sought, again shall shine 



32 SONGS OF EXILE 

A very great delight ? 
Thine is redemption's right, 
Yea, and the power of sole possession Thine, 
My Mighty Love ! 

My noble love ! 

I found delight in thee, 
O fair one ! when I saw thee in thy youth, 
And, passing o'er thee, with My bond of truth 

Betrothed thee unto Me. 
Yet will I gather thee to Mine abode, 

The dwelling of My rest, 

My habitation blest, 

Which I have builded and on thee bestowed, 
My noble love ! 

My Mighty Love ! 

The faithful envoy haste. 

Thy knowledge he shall spread, and strength 
instil 



A SONG OF LOVE 33 

To keep the word that bade me do Thy will, 

And said to me : "Be chaste," 
And did ordain : " If thou wilt not obey, 

To exile thou shalt go." 

Yea, and 'tis come the woe ; 
That doom foretold hath come to pass this day, 
My Mighty Love ! 

My noble love ! 

Tried in the furnace blaze 
Of dire affliction ; thou with shackled feet 
Shalt yet adorn thy form with joy complete, 

Gird on thy song of praise. 
The crown of beauty, diadem divine, 

It seemeth good to Me 

To give it unto thee, 
That sanctified perfection may be thine, 
My noble love ! 



34 SONGS OF EXILE 

My Mighty Love ! 

Naught of my fame is left, 
Though erst I dwelt in regal robes of grace ; 
My sons lie slain, the scions of my race, 

Of kin I stand bereft. 
Behold me wrapt in darkness deep and fell, 

Sunk in the loathsome pit, 

By ray of light unlit ; 
The great stone lieth heavy o'er the well, 
My Mighty Love ! 

My noble love ! 

My friend, come forth to Me ; 
Yea, from the grasp of foes be thou relieved, 
From them who full of guile have thee deceived, 

That speak false words to thee ; 
Because thou wilt not strangers' paths pursue, 

And hast not gone astray 

Along their erring way, 

Nor seekest thou new loves, but still art true, 
My noble love ! 



A SONG OF LOVE 35 

My Mighty Love !. 

Stern bondage holdeth me, 
And grievous woe ; though vainly evermore 
The foe allureth and doth press me sore, 

With keen words, ceaselessly, 
To turn aside from Thee, the fount of bliss, 

Yea, to forsake Thy Name, 

Transgressing to my shame 
The word revealed. My God ! have I done this ? 
My Mighty Love ! 

My noble love ! 

I by Myself have sworn 
To summon thee, My servant, unto Me ; 
And shall not kings bring presents unto thee, 

Thy glory to adorn ? 
A witness have I made My holy one, 

For nations to behold, 

For peoples manifold, 
For lo ! of Jesse have I seen a son, 
My noble love ! 



36 SOWGS OF EXILE 



ODE 

TO ZION 



JEHUDAH HALEVI was born in Castile, in 1086 C. E. 
He was a physician and a philosopher, and the greatest 
Hebrew poet since Biblical times. Leopold Zunz says of 
him: "Er sang fiir alle Zeiten und Gelegenheiten, und 
wurde bald der Liebling seines Volkes" For the syna- 
gogue he wrote more than three hundred poems. Impelled 
by his longing for Zion he left Spain, and journeyed to 
Jerusalem, where he died in 1140. It is related that he 
was slain by the hand of an Arab assassin, when he 
had reached the Holy City, and was singing his great 
ODE TO ZION. 

Stanza 29, lines 2, 3, " purity and light," Thummim and 
Urim. 



ODE TO ZION 37 



oe to Zion 

(Words of Love and Honor to the Holy Land, and of strong Longing 
to see her and to abide in her.) 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 

, wilt thou not ask if peace's wing 
Shadows the captives that ensue thy peace, 
Left lonely from thine ancient shepherding ? 

Lo! west and east and north and south 

world-wide 

All those from far and near, without surcease, 
Salute thee : Peace and Peace from every side ; 

And Peace from him that in captivity 

Longeth, and giveth tears like Hermon's 

dew, 
Yearning to shed them on the hills of thee. 



38 SOWGS OF EXILE 

To weep thy woe my cry is waxen strong : 
But dreaming of thine own restored anew 
I am a harp to sound for thee thy song. 

My heart to Bethel sorely yearneth yet, 
Peniel and Mahanaim ; yea, where'er 
In holy concourse all thy pure ones met. 

There the Shechinah dwelt in thee ; and He, 

God thy Creator, lo, He opened there 
Toward the gates of Heaven the gates of thee. 

And only glory from the Lord was thine 

For light ; and moon and stars and sunshine 

waned, 
Nor gave more light unto thy light divine. 

O I would choose but for my soul to pour 

Itself where then the Spirit of God remained, 
Outpoured upon thy chosen ones of yore. 



ODE TO ZION 39 



Thou art the royal house ; thou art the throne 
Of God ; and how come slaves to sit at last 
Upon the thrones which were thy lords' alone ? 

Would I were wandering in the places where 
God's glory was revealed in that time past, 
Revealed in thee to messenger and seer. 

And who will make me wings that I may fly, 

That I may hasten thither far away 
Where mine heart's ruins 'mid thy ruins lie? 

Prostrate upon thine earth, I fain would thrust 

Myself, delighting in thy stones, and lay 
Exceeding tender hold upon thy dust. 

Yea, standing by the burial-places there 

Of mine own fathers, I would wondering 

gaze, 
In Hebron, at each chosen sepulchre ; 



40 SO1VGS OF EXILE 

And pass into thy forest, and incline 

To Carmel, and would stand in Gilead's ways, 
And marvel at the Mount Abarim thine ; 

Thy Mount Abarim and thy Mountain Hor, 

There where the two great luminaries sleep, 
Which were thy teacher and thy light before. 

The life of souls thine air is ; yea, and thou 
Hast purest myrrh for grains of dust ; and 

deep 
With honey from the comb thy rivers flow. 

Sweet to my soul 'twould be to wander bare 

And go unshod in places waxen waste 
Desolate since thine oracles were there ; 

Where thine Ark rested, hidden in thine heart, 
And where, within, thy Cherubim were placed, 
Which in thine innermost chambers dwelt apart. 



ODE TO ZION 41 



I will cut off and cast away my crown 

Of locks, and curse the season which profaned 
In unclean land the Nazarites, thine own. 

How shall it any more be sweet to me 

To eat or drink, while dogs all unrestrained 
Thy tender whelps devouring I must see ? 

Or how shall light of day at all be sweet 

Unto mine eyes, while still I see them killed 
Thine eagles caught in ravens' mouths for 
meat ? 

O cup of sorrow ! gently ! let thy stress 
Desist a little ! for my reins are filled 
Already, and my soul, with bitterness. 

I, calling back Aholah's memory, 

Drink thine hot poison ; and remembering 
Aholibah, I drain the dregs of thee. 



42 SOJVGS Of EXILE 

Zion ! O perfect in thy beauty ! found 

With love bound up, with grace encompassing, 
With thy soul thy companions' souls are bound : 

They that rejoice at thy tranquillity, 

And mourn the wasteness of thine overthrow, 
And weep at thy destruction bitterly ; 

They from the captive's pit, each one that waits 

Panting towards thee ; all they bending low 
Each one from his own place, towards thy gates ; 

The flocks of all thy multitudes of old 

That, sent from mount to hill in scattered 

flight, 
Have yet forgotten nevermore thy fold ; 

That take fast clinging hold upon thy skirt, 
Striving to grasp the palm-boughs on thine 

height, 
To come to thee at last with strength begirt. 



ODE TO ZION 43 



Shinar and Pathros nay, can these compare 
With thee in state ? And can thy purity, 
And can thy light be like the vain things there ? 

And thine anointed who among their throng 
Compareth ? Likened unto whom shall be 
Levites and seers and singers of thy song? 

Lo ! it shall pass, shall change, the heritage 

Of vain-crowned kingdoms ; not all time subdues 
Thy strength; thy crown endures from age to age. 

Thy God desired thee for a dwelling-place ; 

And happy is the man whom He shall choose, 
And draw him nigh to rest within thy space. 

Happy is he that waiteth ; he shall go 

To thee, and thine arising radiance see 
When over him shall break thy morning glow ; 

And see rest for thy chosen ; and sublime 

Rejoicing find amid the joy of thee 
Returned unto thine olden youthful time. 



44 SONGS OF EXILE 

TObere Sball 1F fffnfc Ubee? 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 

C\ LORD, where shall I find Thee ? 

All-hidden and exalted is Thy place ; 
And where shall I not find Thee ? 
Full of Thy glory is the infinite space. 

Found near-abiding ever, 
He made the earth's ends, set their utmost bar; 

Unto the nigh a refuge, 
Yea, and a trust to them who wait afar. 
Thou sittest throned between the Cherubim, 
Thou dwellest high above the cloud rack dim. 
Praised by Thine hosts and yet beyond their 

praises 
Forever far exalt ; 



WHERE SHALL I FIND THEE 45 

The endless whirl of worlds may not contain 

Thee, 
How, then, one heaven's vault ? 

And Thou, withal uplifted 
O'er man, upon a mighty throne apart, 

Art yet forever near him, 
Breath of his spirit, life-blood of his heart. 
His own mouth speaketh testimony true 
That Thou his Maker art alone ; for who 
Shall say he hath not seen Thee ? Lo ! the 

heavens 

And all their host aflame 

With glory show Thy fear in speech unuttered, 
With silent voice proclaim. 

Longing I sought Thy presence, 
Lord, with my whole heart did I call and pray, 

And going out toward Thee, 
I found Thee coming to me on the way ; 



46 SO NG S OF EXILE 

Yea, in Thy wonders' might as clear to see 
As when within the shrine I looked for Thee. 
Who shall not fear Thee ? Lo ! upon their 

shoulders 

Thy yoke divinely dread ! 
Who shall forbear to cry to Thee, That givest 
To all their daily bread ? 

And can the Lord God truly 
God, the Most High dwell here within man's 

breast ? 

What shall he answer, pondering 
Man, whose foundations in the dust do rest ? 
For Thou art holy, dwelling 'mid the praise 
Of them that waft Thee worship all their days. 
Angels adoring, singing of Thy wonder, 

Stand upon Heaven's height ; 
And Thou, enthroned o'erhead, all things up- 

holdest 
With everlasting might. 



SONG OF ISRAEL TO GOD 47 




JVA Y Love ! hast Thou forgotten 
* * Thy rest 

Upon my breast ? 
And wherefore hast Thou sold me 
To be enslaved for aye ? 
Have I not followed Thee upon the way 
Of olden time within a land not sown ? 
Lo ! Seir and Mount Paran nor these alone- 
Sinai and Sin yea these 
Be all my witnesses. 
For Thee my love was ever, 
And mine 
Thy grace divine ; 
And how hast Thou apportioned 
My glory away from me ? 



48 SONGS OF EXILE 

Thrust unto Seir, pursued, sent forth to flee 

Until Kedar, nor suffered to abide ; 

Within the Grecian fiery furnace tried ; 
Afflicted, weighed with care, 
With Media's yoke to bear ; 

And is there any to redeem but Thee ? 

Or other captive with such hope above ? 

Thy strength, O Lord ! grant of Thy strength 

to me ! 
For I give Thee my love. 



ISRAEL'S D URA TION 49 

Israel's Duration 

Bv JEHUDAH HALEVI 

T O ! sun and moon, these minister for aye ; 

The laws of day and night cease nevermore: 
Given for signs to Jacob's seed that they 

Shall ever be a nation till these be o'er. 
If with His left hand He should thrust away, 
Lo ! with His right hand He shall draw them 

nigh. 

Let them not cry : 'Tis desperate ; nor say : 
Hope faileth, yea, and strength is near to 

die : 

Let them believe that they shall be alway, 
Nor cease until there be no night nor day. 



BO SONGS Of EXILE 



Xorfc is mis IPortion 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 



CERVANTS of time, lo ! these be slaves of 
slaves ; 

But the Lord's servant hath his freedom whole. 
Therefore, when every man his portion craves, 

"The Lord God is my portion," saith my soul. 



SONG OF THE OPPRESSED 51 

Song of tbe ppresseo 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 

, with my whole heart, and with all my 
might, 

Lord, I have loved Thee ! Openly, apart, 
Thy Name is with me ; shall I go alone ? 
He is my love ; shall I dwell solitary ? 
He is my lamp ; how shall my light be quenched ? 

How shall I halt, and He a staff for me ? 
Men have despised me, knowing not that shame 

For Thy Name's glory is my glorious pride. 
Fount of my life ! I bless Thee while I live, 
And sing my song to Thee while being is 
mine ! 



52 SONGS OF EXILE 



Xonging 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 

'"TO meet the fountain of true life I run ; 

Lo ! I am weary of vain and empty life ! 
To see my King's face is mine only strife ; 
Beside Him have I fear or dread of none. 

that a dream might hold Him in its bond ! 

1 would not wake ; nay, sleep should ne'er depart. 
Would I might see His face within my heart ! 

Mine eyes would never yearn to look beyond. 



A LOVE SONG 53 



H Xox>e Song 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 

T ET my sweet song be pleasing unto Thee- 

The incense of my praise 
O my Beloved that art flown from me, 

Far from mine errant ways ! 
(But I have held the garment of His love, 
Seeing the wonder and the might thereof.) 
The glory of Thy Name is my full store 
Enough for all the pain wherein I strove : 
Increase my sorrow : I will love Thee more ! 
Marvellous is Thy love ! 



54 SONGS OF EXILE 



WEDDING 
SONG 



STANZA i, line i, Ecclesiastes xi, 9; line 3, Proverbs v, 
1 8. 

Stanza 3, line i, Psalm xlv, 5. 

Stanza 4, line i, Ecclesiastes xii, i; line 4, Deuteronomy 
xxxiii, 25 ; lines 5 and 6, Deuteronomy xxviii, 6. 

Stanza 5, line 6, Job v, 24. 

Stanza 6, line 4, Isaiah Iviii, 8 ; line 6, Psalm ex, 3. 



WEDDING SONG 55 



Song 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 

D EJOICE, O young man, in thy youth, 

And gather the fruit thy joy shall bear, 
Thou and the wife of thy youth, 
Turning now to thy dwelling to enter there. 

Glorious blessings of God, who is One, 

Shall come united upon thine head ; 

Thine house shall be at peace from dread, 
Thy foes' uprising be undone. 

Thou shalt lay thee down in a safe retreat ; 

Thou shalt rest, and thy sleep be sweet. 

In thine honor, my bridegroom, prosper and live ; 
Let thy beauty arise and shine forth fierce ; 
And the heart of thine enemies God shall 
pierce, 



56 SONGS OF EXILE 

And the sins of thy youth will He forgive, 
And bless thee in increase and all thou shalt 

do, 
When thou settest thine hand thereto. 

And remember thy Rock, Creator of thee, 

When the goodness cometh which He shall 
bring ; 

For sons out of many days shall spring, 
And e'en as thy days thy strength shall be. 

Blessed be thou when thou enterest, 

And thy going out shall be blest. 

'Mid the perfect and wise shall thy portion lie, 
So thou be discreet where thou turnest thee ; 
And thine house shall be builded immovably, 

And "Peace" thou shalt call, and God shall 

reply ; 

And peace shall be thine abode ; and sealed 
Thy bond with the stones of the field. 



WEDDING SONG 57 

Thy glory shall rise, nor make delay ; 

And thee shall He call and choose ; and thy 
light, 

In the gloom, in the darkness of night, 
Then shall break forth like the dawn of day ; 

And out from the shining light of the morn 

Shall the dew of thy youth be born. 



58 SONGS OF EXILE 

Uo tbe Olors of Jerusalem 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 

DEAUTIFUL height! O joy! the whole 
world's gladness ! 

O great King's city, mountain blest ! 
My soul is yearning unto thee is yearning 

From limits of the west. 

The torrents heave from depths of mine heart's 
passion, 

At memory of thine olden state : 
The glory of thee which was born to exile, 

Thy dwelling desolate. 

And who shall grant me but to rise and reach thee, 

Flying on eagle's pinions fleet, 
That I may shed upon thy dust, beloved, 

Tears, till thy dust grow sweet ? 



TO THE GL OR Y OF JER USA LEM 59 

I seek thee, though thy King be no more in 
thee, 

Though where the balm hath been of old 
Thy Gilead's balm be poisonous adders lurking, 

Winged scorpions manifold. 

Is it not to thy stones I shall be tender ? 

Shall I not kiss them verily ? 
Shall not the earth taste on my lips be sweeter 

Than honey the earth of thee ? 



60 SONGS OF EXILE 



LOVED 
OF MY 
SOUL 



THIS POEM is attributed by some to JEHUDAH HALEVI, 
by others to ISRAEL NAGARA, the most gifted poet of 
the sixteenth century, who wrote many sacred poems. 

Stanza 2, line 3, Numbers xii, 13. 



L O VED OF MY SOUL 61 



%o\?eo of flD Soul 



I OVED of my soul ! Father of grace ! 

Lead on Thy servant to Thy favoring sight ; 
He, fleetly as the hart, shall speed his pace 

To bow him low before thy glorious might. 
Sweet is Thy love to him beyond compare, 
Sweeter than honey, fairer than things fair. 

Splendor of worlds ! honored, adored ! 

My soul is sick with pining love of Thee ; 
My God ! I pray Thee, heal her : be implored ; 

And o'er her let Thy holy sweetness be 
A soothing strength to stay her yearning sore ; 
And joy shall be for her for evermore. 

Source of all good ! pity Thou me ! 

And be Thou moved for thy beloved son. 
Ah ! would that I could rise aloft and see 



62 SONGS Of EXILE 

The beauty of Thy strength, Thou Mighty 

One! 

These things my soul desireth : Lord, I pray, 
Grant me Thy mercy ; turn Thee not away. 

Be Thou revealed, Dearest of mine ! 

And spread o'er me Thy canopy of peace ; 
Lo ! with Thy glory all the earth shall shine, 

And we shall know a joy that shall not cease. 
Hasten, Beloved, for the time is nigh, 
And have compassion as in days gone by. 



SONG OF LONELINESS 63 



Sons of Xoneltness 

BY JEHUDAH HALEVI 

T AM of little worth and poor, apart 

From Him, my Glory ; and amid the years 
My form grows like a shadow ; till my heart 
Is old, but not by my years' number ; lo, 
My witnesses : the number of the years 
Of this my sojourning. Nay, but I grow 
So old in His forsaking. If in truth 

He shall come back to me amid the years, 
Then shall come back to me with Him my youth. 



64 SONGS OF EXILE 



THE FAST 

OF 

TEBETH 



JOSEPH BAR SAMUEL TOB ELEM, living in Limoges 
about 1040 C. E., was a great poet of his time. He wrote 
numerous Festival poems. 

Stanza i, line 4, Job xvi, 7. 

Stanza 2, line 3, "write the law in Greek," Talmud 
Babli, Megillah 9" ; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 
xii, 2 ; line 4, Psalm cxxix, 3. 

Stanza 3, line 3, Genesis xlix, 21 ; line 4, according to 
tradition, the ninth of Tebeth was the day of Ezra's 
death. 

Stanza 4, line 4, Ezekiel xxiv, 2 : " Son of man, write 
thee the name of the day, even of this selfsame day : the 
king of Babylon drew close unto Jerusalem this selfsame 
day." 

Stanza 5, line 4, Ezekiel xxxiii, 21. 

Stanza 6, line 4, Lamentations i, 18. 

Stanza 7, line 4, Lamentations iii, 56. 

Stanza 8, line 4, Job xxxviii, n. 



THE FAST OF TEBETH 65 



Ube ffast of TTebetb 

BY JOSEPH BAR SAMUEL TOB ELEM 

I O ! I recall the siege which fell on me : 

Within this month He struck me ; He de- 
stroyed 
With three blows ; cut me down and left me 

void ; 
Now He hath made me weary utterly. 

He silenced on the eighth day all my throng : 
(Have I not for three things a fast proclaimed ?) 
The king bade : write the law in Greek ; they 

maimed, 

They ploughed on me ; they made their furrows 
long. 



66 SONGS Of EXILE 

Upon the ninth day wrath, disgrace, and shame ! 

Stripped off was my fair robe in honor worn ; 

For he who gave sweet words was surely torn: 
Ezra the scribe yea, he of blessed name. 

The tenth day : then the seer was bidden : " Yea, 
Write thee within the book of vision ; write 
This for remembrance ; now shalt thou indite 

For them despised and crushed this selfsame 
day." 

Counting the months, within the tenth the woe 
And wail he wakened ; but the sorrow's smart 
Its onward way was branded on my heart 

When one came saying : " The city is struck low." 

For these things I have scattered o'er me dust : 
O that a shaft had pierced mine heart that 

day ! 
For such woe I would dig my grave ; but nay, 

I wrought rebelliously : the Lord is just. 



THE FAST OF TEBETH 67 

I call Thee, Thou Who hast repentance nigh 
For mine affliction ; lo ! my praying heed ; 
Hear my beseeching ; my salvation speed ; 

Hide Thee not at my sighing, at my cry. 

O moon Tebeth ! exceeding is my sum 

Of pain therein, when His face changed for 

me. 

Yet, though I sinned, His goodness I shall see, 
Who saith : " Ye waves, but so far shall ye 
come." 



68 SONGS Of EXILE 



HYMN 

OF 

WEEPING 



AMITTAI BEN SHEFATIA lived about at the end of the 
eleventh century. He recited his own compositions in 
the synagogue as Chazan. This Hymn occurs in the 
Neilah Service of the Day of Atonement, and has for 
basis and refrain the following Biblical passage : " The 
Lord, the Lord; a God full of compassion and gracious, 
slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy and truth ; keeping 
mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression 
and sin, and acquitting. . . . And pardon our iniquity 
and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance "Exodus 
xxxiv, 6, 7, 9. 

Stanza i, line i, Psalm Ixxvii, 3. 

Stanza 4, line 2, Psalm Ivi, 8. 



HYMN OF WEEPING 69 



1Ktnn ot Weeping 

BY AMITTAI 

T ORD, I remember, and am sore amazed 
* - ' To see the cities stand in haughty state, 
And God's own city to the low grave razed : 
Yet in all time we look to Thee and wait. 

Spirit of mercy ! rise in might ! awake ! 

Plead to thy Master in our mournful plaint, 
And crave compassion for thy people's sake ; 

Each head is weary, and each heart is faint. 

I rest upon my pillars love and grace, 
Upon the flood of ever-flowing tears ; 

I pour out prayer before His searching face, 
And through the fathers' merit lull my fears. 

O Thou Who hearest weeping, healest woe ! 

Our tears within Thy vase of crystal store ; 
Save us ; and all Thy dread decrees forego, 

For unto Thee our eyes turn evermore. 



70 SONGS OF EXILE 



HYMN 

OF 
REFUGE 



THE HYMN OF REFUGE is taken, like the last hymn, 
from the closing service of the Day of Atonement, and it 
consists of the first stanza of a Selichah by ISAAC BEN 
SAMUEL and the first of a Selichah by SOLOMON BEN 
SAMUEL. The date of the first poet is unknown, though 
he was probably one of those composers of Selichoth liv- 
ing between the tenth and the twelfth century. SOLOMON 
lived early in the thirteenth century. These two verses 
are sung to a beautiful old melody to which the Kol 
Nidrei poem, "tDin.3 run O, is also set 



HYMN OF REFUGE 71 



IHpmn of IRefuoe 

'"THE shade of His hand shall cover us 
(Under the wings of His presence) ; 

He surely will pity, trying thus 
The wrongful heart, to show the righteous way. 

Arise, Lord, I beseech Thee : 
My help ! help now, I pray ; 

Lord, now let our crying reach Thee. 

" Forgiven," He will let us hear 
(He in His secret dwelling) ; 

His hand shall bring salvation near 
The people, poor and lowly and astray. 

While we to Thee be crying, 
Help wondrously we pray ; 

Lord, now be Thou replying. 



72 SONGS OF EXILE 

I AM 

THE SUPPLIANT 

BARUCH BEN SAMUEL died in Mayence in 1221. He 
wrote Talmudical commentaries and works in law, be- 
sides many poems for the synagogue. I AM THE SUPPLI- 
ANT is a Selichah recited in the Musaf Service of the 
Day of Atonement. 

Stanza 2, line i, Jeremiah iv, 19. 

Stanza 7, line 4, Lamentations i, i. 

Stanza 13, line 4, Lamentations i, 18. 

Stanza 15, line 4, Genesis xxvii, 2. 

Stanza 16, line 4, Psalm xxxix, 13. 

Stanza 17, line 2, Hosea i, 6; line 3, Psalm xvii, i. 

Stanza 18, line 4, Numbers xi, 15. 

Stanza 19, line 4, Jonah ii, 8. 

Stanza 21, line 4, Psalm xxx, 10. 

Stanza 22, line 4, Genesis xxxvii, 7. 

Stanza 23, line 4, Genesis xlviii, 19. 

Stanza 25, line 3, Psalm cxix, 176. 

Stanza 26, line 4, Genesis xliv, 28. 

Stanza 27, line 4, Song of Songs v, 6. 

Stanza 30, line 4, Genesis xxxiii, 1 1. 

Stanza 31, line 4, Genesis xxix, 19. 

Stanza 32, line 4, Lamentations, iii, 56. 



I AM THE SUPPLIANT 73 

fl am tbe Suppliant 

BY BARUCH BEN SAMUEL 

AM the suppliant for my people here, 

Yea, for the House of Israel, I am he ; 
I seek my God's benign and heedful ear, 
For words that rise from me. 

Amid the walls of hearts that stand around, 

My bitter sighs surge up and mount the sky ; 
Ah ! how my heart doth pant with ceaseless 
bound 

F >r God, my Rock on high. 

With mighty works and wondrous He hath 

wrought, 
Lord of my strength, my God. When me He 

bade 

To make a sanctuary for Him, I sought, 
I labored, and 'twas made. 



74 SONGS Of EXILE 

The Lord, my God, He hath fulfilled His 

word ; 

He ruleth as an all-consuming fire ; 

I came with sacrifice, my prayer He heard, 

Then granted my desire. 

My sprinkling He accepted at the dawn 

Of this, the holiest day, the chosen one, 
When with the daily offering of the morn 
The High Priest had begun. 

And when the services thereafter came, 
In glorious order, each a sacred rite, 
I, bending low, and calling on the Name, 
Confessed before His sight. 

The holy Priests, the ardent, for their sin 

Upon this day made their atonement then, 
With blood of bullocks and of goats, within 
The city full of men. 



/ AM THE SUPPLIANT 75 

The Priest with glowing censer seemed as 

one 

Preparing for the pure a way by fire. 

Then with two rams I came, e'en as a son 

That cometh to his sire. 

The bathings and ablutions, as 'twas meet, 

Were all performed according to their way ; 
Then passed before the throne of God complete 
The service of the day. 

And when sweet strains of praise to glorify 

Burst forth in psalmody and songs of love, 
Yea, when I heard the voice uplifted high, 
I raised my hand above. 

The rising clouds of incense, mantling o'er 

The mercy-seat, lent savor to its grace : 
Then glory filled me, and my soul would soar 
To yon exalted place. 



76 SOJVGS Of EXILE 

Of ancient times I dream, of vanished days ; 

Now wild disquiet rageth unrestrained ; 
Scorned and reproached by all, from godly ways 
Have I, alas, refrained. 

Afar mine eyes have strayed, and I have erred, 
And deaf I made mine ears, their listening 

quelled ; 

And righteous is the Lord, for at His word 
I sorely have rebelled. 

Perverseness have I loved, and wrongful thought, 
And hating good, strove righteousness to 

shun, 

And in mine actions foolishness have wrought ; 
Great evil have I done. 

Pardon, I pray Thee, our iniquity, 

O God, from Thine high dwelling, and behold 
The souls that in affliction weep to Thee 
For lo ! I have grown old. 



I AM THE SUPPLIANT 77 

Work for me, I beseech Thee, marvels now, 
O Lord of Hosts ! in mercy lull our fears ; 
Answer with potent signs, and be not Thou 
Silent unto my tears. 

Open Thine hand exalted, nor revile 

The hearts not comforted, but pierced with 

care, 

Praying with fervent lips, that know not guile, 
O hearken to my prayer ! 

Look Thou upon my sorrow, I implore, 

But not upon the sin that laid me low ; 
Judge, God, the cause of mine affliction sore ; 
Let me not see my woe. 

O Thou, my Maker ! I have called on Thee, 
Pictured my thought to Thee, pronounced my 

word; 

And at the time my spirit failed in me, 
Remembered I the Lord. 



78 SONGS Of EXILE 

Behold my wound, O Thou Who giv'st relief ! 
Let me Thine ears with voice of weeping 

win; 

Seek in Thy mercy balsam for my grief, 
But seek not for my sin. 

Give ear unto my voice, O list my call ! 

And give me peace, for Thou art great to save. 
What profit is there in my blood, my fall 
Down low unto the grave ? 

But I unceasing will declare Thy praise ; 

Grant my atonement, though I sinned so oft. 
Bring not my word to nothingness, but raise 
My fallen sheaf aloft. 

Redeem Thy son, long sold to bondage grim, 

And on his substance let Thy blessing flow; 
How long, O Lord, ere Thou wilt say to him, 
" I know, my son, I know. 



I AM THE SUPPLIANT 79 

"I see thee heavy-laden with thy care, 

With sorrow's burden greater than thy 

strength ; 

I hear thee wailing : yea, but I will spare, 
And will redeem at length." 

And now, O my Redeemer, lo ! behold 

The chains that bind me 'neath their cruel 

sway, 

And seek Thy servant, wandered from the fold, 
A lost sheep, gone astray. 

Beauty's perfection lieth fallen low, 

Broken and waste, which stood in majesty; 
The glory is gone forth, and fled, for woe ! 
The One went out from me. 

My strong bars He hath broken every one ; 

He hath been wroth with me : I am bereft. 
For my belov'd hath turned aside and gone, 
A desert am I left. 



80 SO NG S OF EXILE 

My gates are sunken, they that stood so high ; 

My sacred doors are shattered and laid waste; 
Lo! they are moved and vanished hence; and I 
Am humbled and disgraced. 

Dumb are mine advocates in mine appeal, 
High in their pride my scorners raise their 

crest ; 

They quench my light, they darkly do conceal 
My welfare and my rest. 

O Lord, my God ! all strength doth dwell in 

Thee, 

O hear my voice, as humbly here I bow ; 
And let the sentence of Thy judgment be, 
"Take thou my blessing now." 

Behold me fallen low from whence I stood, 

And mine assembly with compassion see ; 
And this my soul, mine only one, 'tis good 
To give it unto Thee. 



I AM THE SUPPLIANT 81 

Take back Thy son once more, and draw him 

near; 

Hide not from him the radiance of Thine eye, 
Turn not away, but bend a favoring ear 
Unto my plaint, my cry. 



82 SOJVGS Of EXILE 



THE BURNING 
OF THE 
LAW 



To MEIR BEN BARUCH BEN MEIR, born in Worms in 
1 220, was given the title " Light and Great Light," re- 
served for the greatest Rabbis. In 1286 he was impris- 
oned as a hostage for the Jewish emigrants, and in 1293 
he died in prison, though a ransom had been offered for 
his release. He had refused it, fearing to create a prece- 
dent for the extortion of money from the Jews by their 
imprisonment and ransom. The following Kinnah, in 
which he mourns the burning of the Law at Paris, is 
read on the Ninth of Ab, and has the form of the " Zion " 
poems for that day, of which Jehudah Halevi's ODE TO 
ZION (p. 37) is the chief. 

Stanza 2, line i, "panting for thy land's sweet dust," 
Amos ii, 7. 

Stanza 7, line 4, Proverbs xxiv, 31. 

Stanza 9, line 4, Psalm cxxxvii, 8. 

Stanza 18, line 4, Isaiah xl, 2. 

Stanza 25, line i, " Taking His holy treasure," Proverbs 
vii, 20; line 2, Proverbs vii, 19. 

Stanza 26, line 3, Isaiah xxx, 17. 

Stanza 30, line 4, Jeremiah ii, 2. 



THE BURNING OF THE LAW 83 



Ube Burning of tbe %aw 

BY MEIR OF ROTHENBURG 

A SK, is it well, O thou consumed of fire, 

With those that mourn for thee, 
That yearn to tread thy courts, that sore desire 
Thy sanctuary ; 

That, panting for thy land's sweet dust, are 
grieved, 

And sorrow in their souls, 
And by the flames of wasting fire bereaved, 
Mourn for thy scrolls ; 

That grope in shadow of unbroken night, 

Waiting the day to see 
Which o'er them yet shall cast a radiance bright, 

And over thee ? 



84 SONGS OF EXILE 

Ask of the welfare of the man of woe, 
With breaking heart, in vain 

Lamenting ever for thine overthrow, 
And for thy pain ; 

Of him that crieth as the jackals cry, 
As owls their moaning make, 

Proclaiming bitter wailing far and nigh ; 
Yea, for thy sake. 

And thou revealed amid a heavenly fire, 

By earthly fire consumed, 
Say how the foe unscorched escaped the pyre 

Thy flames illumed ! 

How long shalt thou that art at ease abide 

In peace, unknown to woe, 
While o'er my flowers, humbled from their 
pride, 

Thy nettles grow ? 



THE BURNING OF THE LAW 85 

Thou sittest high exalted, lofty foe ! 

To judge the sons of God ; 
And with thy judgments stern dost bring them 
low 

Beneath thy rod. 

Yea, more, to burn the Law thou durst decree 
God's word to banish hence : 

Then blest be he who shall award to thee 
Thy recompense ! 

Was it for this, thou Law, my Rock of old 
Gave thee with flames begirt, 

That in thine after-days should fire seize hold 
Upon thy skirt ? 

O Sinai ! was it then for this God chose 
Thy mount of modest height, 

Rejecting statelier, while on thee arose 
His glorious light ? 



86 SONGS OF EXILE 

Wast thou an omen that from noble state 

The Law should lowly be ? 
And lo ! a parable will I relate 

Befitting thee. 

Tis of a king I tell, who sat before 

The banquet of his son 

And wept : for 'mid the mirth he death 
foresaw ; 

So thou hast done. 

Cast off thy robe ; in sackcloth folds of night, 

O Sinai ! cover thee ; 
Don widow's garb, discard thy raiment bright 

Of royalty. 

Lo, I will weep for thee until my tears 

Swell as a stream and flow 
Unto the graves where thy two princely seers 

Sleep calm below : 



THE BURNING OF THE LAW 87 

Moses ; and Aaron in the Mountain Hor ; 

I will of them inquire : 
Is there another to replace this Law 

Devoured of fire ? 

O thou third month most sacred ! woe is me 

For treason of the fourth, 

Which dimmed the sacred light that shone from 
thee 

And kindled wrath ; 

And brake the tablets, yea, and still did rage : 

And lo ! the Law is burnt ! 
Ye sinful ! is not this the twofold wage 

Which ye have earnt ? 

Dismay hath seized upon my soul ; how, then, 

Can food be sweet to me, 
When, O thou Law, I have beheld base men 

Destroying thee ? 



88 SONGS OF EXILE 

They cast thee out as one despised, and burn 

The wealth of God Most High ; 
They whom from thine assembly thou wouldst 
spurn 

From drawing nigh. 

I cannot pass along the highway more, 
Nor seek thy ways forlorn ; 

How do thy paths their loneliness deplore ! 
Lo ! how they mourn ! 

The mingled cup shall taste as honey sweet 
Where tears o'erbrim the wine ; 

Yea, and thy chains upon my shackled feet 
Are joy divine. 

Sweet would it be unto mine eyes alway 

A rain of tears to pour, 
To sob and drench thy sacred robes, till they 

Could hold no more. 



THE BURNING OF THE LAW 



But lo! my tears are dried, when, fast out- 
poured. 

They down my cheeks are shed ; 
Scorched by the fire within : because thy Lord 
Hath turned and fled. 

Taking His holy treasure, He hath made 

His journey far away ; 
And with Him hath not thy protecting shade 

Vanished for aye ? 

And I am desolate and sore bereft, 

Lo ! a forsaken one : 
Like a sole beacon on a mountain left, 

A tower alone. 

I hear the voice of singers now no more, 
Silence their song hath bound ; 

The strings are broken which on harps of yore 
Breathed forth sweet sound. 



90 SONGS OF EXILE 

In sackcloth I will clothe and sable band, 

For well-beloved by me 

Were they whose lives were many as the 
sand 

The slain of thee. 

I am astonied that the day's fair light 

Yet shineth brilliantly 
On all things : it is ever dark as night 

To me and thee. 

Send with a bitter cry to God above 
Thine anguish, nor withhold : 

Ah ! that He would remember yet His love, 
His troth of old ! 

Gird on the sackcloth of thy misery 

For that devouring fire, 
Which burst forth ravenous on thine and thee 

With wasting dire. 



THE BURNING OF THE LAW 91 

E'en as thy Rock hath sore afflicted thee, 

He will assuage thy woe, 
Will turn again the tribes' captivity, 

And raise the low. 

Yet shalt thou wear thy scarlet raiment choice, 
And sound the timbrels high, 

And yet amid the dancers shalt rejoice 
With gladdened cry. 

My neart shall be uplifted on the day 
Thy Rock shall be thy light, 

When He shall make thy gloom to pass away, 
Thy darkness bright. 



92 SO1VGS OF EXILE 



DIRGE 
FOR THE 
NINTH OF AB 



THE AUTHOR is doubtful. 

Stanza i, line i, Isaiah li, 21; line 3, "make thee bald," 
Micah i, 16. 

Stanza 3, line 13, i Kings vi, 21; line 14, i Kings vi, 4. 
The Targum JONATHAN BEN UZZIEL paraphrases this 
verse in accordance with tradition : "And they made for 
the house windows wide outwardly and narrow inwardly." 
The tradition was that while ordinary windows were con- 
structed by cavities in the walls cut at an angle widening 
inwardly to admit the rays of light into the building, the 
windows of the Temple were cut in the opposite way to 
suggest that the Temple was the true source of light. 

Stanza 5, line 3, Jeremiah xlviii, 34 ; line 4, Jeremiah 
xlviii, 21; line 7, Psalm cxxxvii, 8. 

Stanza 7, lines i, 3, Micah vii, 8. 



DIRGE FOR THE NINTH OF AB 93 



2>fr0e for tbe flltntb of Bb 

C\ THOU afflicted, drunken not with wine ! 
Cast to the earth thy timbrel ; strip thee 

bare ; 
Yea, make thee bald ; let not thy beauty 

shine ; 

Despoil of comeliness thy presence fair ; 
Lift up a wailing on the mountain height ; 
Turn thee to all thy borders ; seek thy flight. 

And cry before the Lord 
For thresholds waste, 
For thresholds waste ; 

Cry for thy little ones 
Slain of the sword ; 

Lift up thine hands to Him, 
To Him implored. 



94 SONGS Of EXILE 

How hath to Zion come the foeman dread, 

Into the royal city entrance found ! 
How do the reckless feet of strangers tread 

With step irreverent on the hallowed ground ! 
Lo ! when the spoilers stormed the sanctuary, 

They fell on priests, the guards of sacred 

rite, 
Watchmen who kept their charge, and fearlessly 

Stood by, unflinching 'mid the deadly fight : 
Until their blood was shed, profuse as when 

Of yore the Nile was turned to bloody flow ; 
Within the curtain burst unholy men, 

Yea, even where the High Priest feared to go. 
They stript of gold thy walls' majestic heights, 
And the fair windows of thy narrowed lights. 

And cry before the Lord 
For thresholds waste, 
For thresholds waste ; 
Cry for thy little ones 



DIRGE FOR THE NINTH OF AB 95 

Slain of the sword ; 

Lift up thine hands to Him, 
To Him implored. 

The voice of Zion's daughter sore doth moan, 

She waileth from afar in anguish deep, 
Uttereth the cry of Heshbon overthrown, 

And with the weeping of Mephaath doth 

weep : 

Woe ! I have drunk the cup, have drained it ! 
Woe! 

Lions with savage fangs have me undone, 
Daughter of Babylon, that liest low ! 

Daughter of Edom, O thou guilty one ! 
Wherefore, O Zion, art bewailing thee 

O'er this thy doom ? for lo ! thy sin is known : 
By the abundance of iniquity 

Beholdest thou the exile of thine own ; 
For that thy watchman true thou didst forsake, 

To hearken unto words false omens spake. 



96 SONGS OF EXILE 

And cry before the Lord 
For thresholds waste, 
For thresholds waste ; 

Cry for thy little ones 
Slain of the sword ; 

Lift up thine hands to Him, 
To Him implored. 

Rejoice not, O mine enemy, o'er my pain, 

O'er the destruction that hath come to me, 
For though I fall I shall arise again ; 

The Lord yet helpeth me ; yea, even He 
Who scattered, in His burning wrath, His 
flock, 

Shall gather me once more within His fold ; 
He shall deliver me from thee ; my Rock 

Shall free His servant to thy bondage sold. 
Then unto thee shall pass the brimming bowl, 

The cup whose bitterness hath filled my 
soul. 



DIRGE FOR THE NINTH OF AB 97 

And cry before the Lord 
For thresholds waste, 
For thresholds waste ; 

Cry for thy little ones 
Slain of the sword ; 

Lift up thine hands to Him, 
To Him implored. 



g8 SOJVGS OF EXILE 



FROM the Liturgy for Hoshana Rabbah, The author 
is unknown. 

Stanza 6, line i, refers to the ceremony of the pouring 
forth of water at the Temple during the Festival of 
Tabernacles. 

Stanza 9, line 2, Hosea iii, 2. For mystical interpre- 
tations, see Targunt Jonathan, Rashi in loco, Mezudath 
Zion, and Mezudath David. 

Stanza 10, line i, Leviticus xxiii, 40. 



HO SHAN A 99 



Dosbana 

C\ GOD! like lost sheep we have gone astray; 
From out Thy book wipe not our name 
away. 

Save ! O save ! 

O God ! sustain the sheep for slaughter ; see 
These dealt with wrathfully and slain for Thee. 
Save ! O save ! 

O God ! Thy sheep ! the sheep whom Thou didst 

tend 

In pasture ; Thy creation and Thy friend. 
Save ! O save ! 

O God ! the poor among the sheep ! Take heed : 
Answer in time of favor to their need. 
Save ! O save I 



SONGS Of EXILE 



O God ! they lift their eyes to Thee, long 

sought : 
Let those that rise against Thee count as 

naught. 

Save ! O save ! 

O God ! they pouring water, worshipping 
Let them be drawing from salvation's spring. 
Save ! O save ! 

O God ! let saviours come to Zion at length, 
Endowed of Thee, and saved by Thy Name's 
strength. 

Save ! O save ! 

O God ! in garb of vengeance clad about, 
In mighty wrath cast all deceivers out. 
Save ! O save ! 

O God ! and Thou wilt surely not forget 
Her, by love-tokens bought, that hopeth yet. 
Save ! O save ! 



HOSHANA 



O God ! they seeking Thee with willow bough 
Regard their crying from Thine Heaven now. 
Save ! O save ! 

O God ! as with a crown bless Thou the year ; 
Yea, Lord, my singing, I beseech Thee, hear. 
Save ! O save ! 



SOWGS Of EXILE 



THE ARK 
OF THE 
COVENANT 



THE ARK OF THE COVENANT was suggested by the 
following fragments from the Talmud : 

Rabbi Eliezer saith: "The Ark hath gone into cap- 
tivity unto Babylon, as it is said, 'And at the return of 
the year King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him 
(Jehoiachin) to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the 
House of the Lord.' " 

Rabbi Simeon ben Yochai saith : " The Ark hath gone 
into captivity unto Babylon, as it is said, ' Nothing shall 
be left, saith the Lord.' This referreth to the Ten Words 
which were enshrined therein." 

Rabbi Judah (ben Lakish) saith : " The Ark is hidden 
in its place, as it is said : ' That the ends of the staves 
were seen from the holy place before the oracle ; but they 
were not seen without : and there they are unto this day.' " 

And where it is written " unto this day," it is always 
understood to mean forever. 

And the sages say, " The Ark was hidden in the 
chamber of the Wood Pile. ' 

Rabbi Nachman bar Isaac saith: "I likewise have 
received a tradition. It is related of a priest, that, while 
wrapt in contemplation, he perceived that one of the stones 
of the pavement differed in appearance from the others. 
And he forthwith went to apprise his comrade ; but be- 



THE ARK OF THE COVENANT 103 

fore he had ended his words his soul went forth. And 
they knew of a truth that there the Ark was hidden." 

There was a tradition with the disciples of Rabbi Ish- 
mael, that two priests were examining the wood (to be 
burnt upon the altar), when the axe of one fell, and a 
flame went forth and consumed him. Yoma 53 b , 54*. 

. . . . There were thirteen places of prostration in 
the sanctuary. But in the time of Rabban Gamaliel and 
Rabbi Chanina, the second High Priest, they prostrated 
themselves at fourteen places. And where was the addi- 
tional place? By the wood pile; for they had received a 
tradition from their fathers that the Ark was hidden there. 
It is related that a priest, while wrapt in contemplation, 
perceived that one of the stones differed in appearance 
from the others. And he forthwith went to apprise his 
comrade ; but before he had ended his words, his soul 
went forth. And they knew of a truth that there the Ark 
was hidden. Jems. Shekalim, ch. 16. 

Stanza 7, line 4. The Shechinah withdrew by ten stages 
from the Mercy Seat to one Cherub, from one .Cherub 
to the other, from the Cherub to the Threshold, from the 
Threshold to the Court, from the Court to the Altar, 
from the Altar to the Roof, from the Roof to the Wall, 
from the Wall to the City, from the City to the Mount, 
and from the Mount to the Wilderness. From the Wilder- 
ness it ascended and abode in its place, as it is said, " I 
will go and return unto My place." Rosh ha-Shanah 31*. 



104 SOJVGS OF EXILE 



Hrfc of tbe Covenant 



'"FHERE is a legend full of joy and pain, 
An old tradition told of former years, 
When Israel built the Temple once again 
And stayed his tears. 

'Twas in the chamber where the Wood Pile lay, 
The logs wherewith the altar's flame was fed ; 
There hope recalled the Light of vanished day, 
The Light long fled. 

A priest moved slowly o'er the marble floor, 

Sorting the fuel in the chamber stored ; 
Frail was his form ; he ministered no more 
Before the Lord. 



THE ARK OF THE COVENANT 105 

Wrapt in still thought, with sad and mournful 

mien, 

Plying his axe with oft a troubled sigh, 
He dreamed of glory which the House had seen 
In days gone by ; 

Mused of the time when in the Holy Place 

God's Presence dwelt between the Cherubim, 
And of the day He turned away His face, 
And light grew dim ; 

When the Shechinah from that erring throng, 

Alas, withdrew, yet tarried in the track, 
As one who lingereth on the threshold long 
And looketh back ; 

Then step by step in that reluctant flight 
Approached the shadow of the city wall, 
And lingered yet upcn the mountain height 
For hoped recall. 



io6 SONGS Of EXILE 

The Temple standing, pride of Israel's race, 

Hath resting there no sacred Ark of Gold ; 
God's Glory filleth not the Holy Place 
As once of old. 

Surely the glory of the House is o'er ; 

Gone is the Presence, silent is the Voice ; 
They who remember that which is no more, 
Can they rejoice ? 

To him, so musing, sudden rapture came ; 

The axe fell from his trembling hand's control ; 
A fire leapt upward, and a burning flame 
Woke in his soul. 

His eyes had seen ; his soul spoke ; he had gazed 
Upon one stone of that smooth marble plain : 
Lo ! from its place it surely had been raised, 
And set again. 



THE ARK OF THE COVENANT 107 

Into his heart there flashed prophetic light ; 

With sudden force the secret was revealed ; 
What but one treasure, sacred in his sight, 
Lay there concealed ? 

As one of Heaven bid who dare not wait, 
With step grown firm as with the strength of 

youth, 

He hastened to his comrade to relate 
The wondrous truth. 

With hand uplifted, and a light sublime 

In eyes that full of some new wonder shone, 
He seemed a holy seer of olden time 
To look upon. 

Yet from his parted lips no message came ; 
In silence reached he his immortal goal ; 
And from its dwelling in the earthly frame 
Went forth his soul. 



io8 SONGS OF EXILE 

Soon o'er the house flew, murmuring, strange 

reports. 

And men and women trembled at the sound, 
And priests came swiftly from the sacred courts, 
And thronged around. 

And all these came from all their paths away, 

In hurried gathering which none gainsaid, 
And stood in utter silence where he lay, 
The priestly dead. 

Lo ! in the hush the spirit, as it passed 

Beyond the still form and the peaceful brow, 
Seemed to speak audibly : " O Lord, at last ! 
I see Thee now. 

" Mine eyes have seen this day my life's fair 

dream, 
In this my death have seen that dream ful- 

filled- 

The longing of my heart, the wish supreme 
That grief instilled. 



THE ARK OF THE COVENANT 109 

" I said, God's Ark is captive far away, 

So wept I, Ichabod, for glory fled, 
And mourned because the brightness of the day 
Was quenched and dead. 

" Yet, verily, if in a far-off land 

The Ark of God in exile dwelleth still, 
Yea, even so 'tis with the pure of hand 
Who do His will. 

" Know then, ye priests and Levites, Israel all, 

Hid in its place the Ark of God doth lie, 
His presence hath not gone beyond recall, 
But bideth nigh. 

" Haste, brethren, let the gates asunder burst ; 

Regain the Ark, the Covenant hold fast ; 
And by the glorious Second House, the First 
Shall be surpassed ! 



SONGS Of EXILE 



" Behold, thou comest as the dawn of day ! 

Shechinah ! changeless, to illume the night ! 
O Thou, Who art a lamp upon the way, 
Who art the light ! " 

So sang his soul, with life's full radiance crowned ; 

So dawned again the shining of God's face : 
For each heart knew the Ark could yet be found 
Within its place. 



THE IDEAL MINISTER 



^minister 

FROM THE TRACTATE TAANITH IN THE BABYLONIAN 
TALMUD 

OEHOLD him humble and with naught of 

wealth, 

Save for the righteousness within his soul 
And knowledge stored abundantly therein, 
More precious than the riches of the earth ; 
Gentle and meek and lowly in his ways, 
Knowing the source wherefrom his wisdom 

flows ; 

Labor despising not, he turneth toil 
Into a blessing. And his heart is set 
In tender moulding of a father's love. 
For he hath children, that he well may know 
The heart of other men ; and so he prayeth 
E'en with such fervor and such earnestness 
For sons of others ; grown compassionate, 
As hath a father pity on his son. 



SONGS Of EXILE 



Closed are his portals to unrighteousness ; 
Guilt findeth not a place beneath his roof ; 
His fame is perfect and his name unstained ; 
His life is seen not of the eyes of sin. 
Unto the people, trusting, loving him, 
His coming is a gladness ; for he lures 
The heart of them with wondrous sympathy, 
Embracing all their sorrows and their joy, 
Speaking the word of comfort in its time, 
Rejoicing with them in their joyous day. 
What can surpass the sweetness of his voice 
Revealing his soul's beauty, sending forth 
Unto his heedful hearers solemn sounds 
Of holiness made holier by song ? 
The Law speaks loud through him, the deep- 
toned words 

Leaving an impress of authority 
To hold the heart with true and sacred force. 
He maketh heard the Prophets' mighty call, 
The thunder of their warning and reproach, 



THE IDEAL MINISTER 113 

The bitter lamentation for their sin, 
The pleadings and the promises of good ; 
And in the sound, outpouring from his lips, 
The Prophet's spirit seems to burn again. 
He reads the olden books of Holy Writ, 
And telling of the glory passed away, 
His soul wells forth in song a song so sweet 
As though an echo of the voice Divine 
Sang with it, to inspire the hearts that heard 
With hope of that new glory yet to rise. 
His lips are steeped in wisdom handed down 
In golden links unbroke from sire to son, 
Long-treasured race-traditions, still to live, 
And, living, pass through ages yet unborn. 
So, with his glowing words of metaphor, 
Grows green the old faith's beauty; and his 

prayers 

Rise up as incense from the shrine. He stands 
Before the Ark, and in his hands he holds 
A thousand prayers, to rise as one, and bear 



ii4 SONGS OF EXILE 



A people's anguish to the throne of God. 
This is God's chosen Minister ; this one 
Shall lead his people in the righteous way 
Towards the triumph. Yet, 'tis not alone 
A picture of the heart's desire for him, 
A dream of what a minister must be ; 
Nay, for the Rabbis in their wisdom gazed 
On Rabbi Isaac, Immi's noble son. 



THE GIVING OF THE LAW 115 

Ube (3i\?in0 ot tbe Xaw 

FROM MIDRASH RABBAH ON SHEMOTH 

\17HEN the Holy One came to give life, to 

reveal the great light of His Law, 
All His wonder of worlds grew silent in sudden, 

unspeakable awe, 
More tense than the stillness ere dawn riseth 

up in a burst of gold, 
Every quiver and pulse, every breath of the 

world caught fast in His hold. 
No twitter of bird, no soaring of wings made 

stir in the air, 
And the oxen that lowed from the fields were 

mute as if death passed there ; 
And in Heaven the Ophanim paused in their 

flight through the limitless space, 
And the Seraphim, singing Thrice Holy, grew 

still in their glorious place. 



Ii6 SONGS OF EXILE 

Full of the storm and the swell of the tide, an 

immovable sea 
Lay dumb with the hushing of lips, with a 

pausing eternity ; 
Till the life-giving voice should thrill, and the 

imminent call be heard, 
A marvel, absorbing the sound of all spheres, 

the Ineffable Word; 
Until God in His wonder of worlds, the Holy 

One, blessed be He, 
Should set His creation athrob with the light 

and the life to be. 
Lo ! who could endure to stand on the terrible 

day when He came, 
In a universe full of His voice, grown thundrous 

with sound of His Name ? 
Lo ! He struck the high seas with terror, He 

saw the mountains quake, 

And the stars in His heaven paled, "and my 
soul went forth when He spake." 



THE GIVING OF THE LA W 117 

And from stars to the shaken earth where the 

trembling footsteps trod, 
One voice fell One, tremendous : I am the 

Lord thy God. 



ii8 SONGS OF EXILE 



THE AGES 

OF 

MAN 



THE AUTHOR of THE AGES OF MAN is not known. 
There are several Hebrew variants of the poem, which, 
without convincing reason, has been ascribed to ABRA- 
HAM IBN EZRA. The present English translation has 
been made from the text contained in a manuscript 
brought by Mr. Elkan N. Adler from the Cairo Genizah. 



THE AGES OF MAN 119 



L 



Hoes ot flDan 

ET but the son of earth 
Remember from his birth 



That in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was. 

So shall he be. 



"Arise and prosper," say ye unto him 
Of five years, whose desires rise up apace 
Like the awakening sun on regions dim. 
He hath his mother's breast for resting place, 

And moveth not 
His father's shoulders for his chariot. 



SONGS OF EXILE 



(Yet in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was, 

So shall he be.~) 

How urge ye him of ten years with intent 
Toward instruction ? Yet a little space, 
And he will grow and find his chastisement. 
Speak unto him with tender tone of grace : 

Joy shall he rouse 
For them that bare him, for his father's house. 

(For in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was. 

So shall he be.~) 

How sweet the days to him of twenty years ! 
Swift as a hart he leapeth to and fro 



THE AGES OF MAN 



Over the hills ; and scorns reproof, nor hears 
The voice of teachers. But a graceful doe, 

Goodly and fair, 
This is the portion for him and his snare. 

(Yet in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was, 

So shall he be.) 

At thirty years into a woman's hands 
He falleth ; rise and look on him and see ; 
Behold him now caught fast within the strands ; 
The arrows pierce him round ; the want shall be 

Now of his life 
Only the wants of children and of wife. 

(But in the end 
He shall return: 



122 SONGS OF EXILE 

As at his birth he was, 
So shall he be.*) 

He wanders forth subdued who shall attain 
To forty years ; he runs his way : behind 
The light companions of his youth remain ; 
And evil be it or sweet, yet shall he find 

Joy in his lot, 
Firm by his work, his charge forsaking not. 

(Yet in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was, 

So shall he be^} 

The days of vanity days nothing worth 
Remembers he of fifty years, and mourns 
Because the days of mourning come ; and earth 
And all the glory of the world he scorns, 



THE AGES OF MAN 1*3 

Bearing the fear 
Lest his own time indeed be drawing near. 

(For in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was, 

So shall he be.) 

Ask : what befalls when sixty years are his ? 
Then have his muscles grown like root and bar 
Set to his work sufficing but for this 
And rooted that they bend now but so far ; 

And never they 
Shall move again to rouse him for the fray. 

(For in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was, 

So shall he be.) 



124 SOJVGS OF EXILE 

If into seventy years his life-way wends, 
His words are heard no longer ; 'tis his fate 
To go unheeded. Now upon his friends 
Only a burden, he becomes a weight 

On his own soul, 
And on the staff that bears him to his goal. 

{For in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was, 

So shall he be.} 

At eighty years, then is he but a care 
Upon his sons ; his heart is no more his, 
Nor his thoughts with him ; only he is there, 
Scorned of his neighbors. Yea, his portion is 

Gall to the brim, 
And wormwood is the morsel now for him. 

(For in the end 
He shall return: 



THE AGES OF MAN 125 

As at his birth he was, 
So shall he be.} 

And after he is even as one dead. 
Happy the man who deemeth his own part 
That of a stranger who is quickly fled : 
Who hath no contemplation in his heart 

Nor thought nor sense 
But his soul's after-life and recompense. 

(For in the end 

He shall return: 

As at his birth he was, 

So shall he be.) 



ia6 SONGS Of EXILE 

THE SONG 

OF 

CHESS 

THE SONG OF CHESS is attributed to ABRAHAM IBN 
EZRA (1093-1167), who worked, as philosopher, poet, and 
mathematician, in Italy, France, and England. About 
one hundred and fifty of his sacred poems are known. 

Line 21, "foot-soldier" is the pawn. 

Line 35, "Elephant" is the bishop. 

Line 40, " Horse " is the knight. 

Line 44, " Wind " is the rook. 

Although this poem bears evidence that the moves in 
chess have not changed, there are one or two variations 
of another kind worth noticing. The Indian chessmen 
have an Elephant to represent the Castle, or Rook, but it 
is clear that the author of this poem followed the Arabic 
designation, as he makes the Bishop the Elephant, or 
Vfl, which the Arabs called "Al fil " (see Encycl. Brit., 
vol. 5, p. 599). It is remarkable that the word Rook, 
from the Indian " Roch," a "war-chariot," is generally 
written by Hebrew writers pn, but the author of this 
poem employs the word nn. He may have used the 
word " wind " metaphorically as a war-chariot. 



THE SONG OF CHESS 197 



TTbe Song of Cbess 

T WILL sing a song of battle 

Planned in days long passed and over. 
Men of skill and science set it 
On a plain of eight divisions, 
And designed in squares all chequered. 
Two camps face each one the other, 
And the kings stand by for battle, 
And twixt these two is the fighting. 
Bent on war the face of each is, 
Ever moving or encamping, 
Yet no swords are drawn in warfare, 
For a war of thoughts their war is. 
They are known by signs and tokens 
Sealed and written on their bodies ; 
And a man who sees them, thinketh, 
Edomites and Ethiopians 



ia8 SONGS OF EXILE 

Are these two that fight together. 
And the Ethiopian forces 
Overspread the field of battle, 
And the Edomites pursue them. 



First in battle the foot-soldier 
Comes to fight upon the highway, 
Ever marching straight before him, 
But to capture moving sideways, 
Straying not from off his pathway, 
Neither do his steps go backwards ; 
He may leap at the beginning 
Anywhere within three chequers. 
Should he take his steps in battle 
Far away unto the eighth row, 
Then a Queen to all appearance 
He becomes and fights as she does. 
And the Queen directs her moving 
As she will to any quarter. 



THE SONG OF CHESS 129 

Backs the Elephant or advances, 
Stands aside as 'twere an ambush ; 
As the Queen's way, so is his way, 
But o'er him she hath advantage, 
He stands only in the third rank. 
Swift the Horse is in the battle, 
Moving on a crooked pathway ; 
Ways of his are ever crooked ; 
Mid the Squares, three form his limit. 



Straight the Wind moves o'er the war-path 
In the field across or lengthwise ; 
Ways of crookedness he seeks not, 
But straight paths without perverseness. 
Turning every way the King goes, 
Giving aid unto his subjects ; 
In his actions he is cautious, 
Whether fighting or encamping. 
If his foe come to dismay him, 



130 SONGS Of EXILE 

From his place he flees in terror, 
Or the Wind can give him refuge. 
Sometimes he must flee before him ; 
Multitudes at times support him ; 
And all slaughter each the other, 
Wasting with great wrath each other. 
Mighty men of both the sovereigns 
Slaughtered fall, with yet no bloodshed. 
Ethiopia sometimes triumphs, 
Edom flees away before her ; 
Now victorious is Edom : 
Ethiopia and her sovereign 
Are defeated in the battle. 



Should a King in the destruction 
Fall within the foeman's power, 
He is never granted mercy, 
Neither refuge nor deliv'rance, 
Nor a flight to refuge-city. 



THE SONG OF CHESS 131 

Judged by foes, and lacking rescue, 
Though not slain he is checkmated. 
Hosts about him all are slaughtered, 
Giving life for his deliverance. 
Quenched and vanished is their glory, 
For they see their lord is smitten ; 
Yet they fight again this battle, 
For in death is resurrection. 



i 3 2 SONGS OF EXILE 



SKETCH 
OK THE 
GAME OF CHESS 



THE DATE of this composition is given variously : the 
twelfth century or, according to Steinschneider, the four- 
teenth or fifteenth. The remarkable feature is that the 
game is mainly described by a combination and adapta- 
tion of Biblical texts. 

Paragraph 9. In the thirteenth century the Alfyn had 
the diagonal move of our Bishop, restricted in its range 
of action to the third square from which it stood. (From 
the Chess Players Chronicle, vol. iii, p. 63.) Stein- 
schneider's date would appear to be in conflict with this 
fact. 



SKETCH OF THE GAME OF CHESS 133 

Sftetcb of tbe Game of dbess 

BY BON SENIOR ABN YACHIA 

T N the beginning of the reign, the armies stand 
before thee. 

Thine eyes shall see the King in his glory. 
Behold, he standeth at the head of all his hosts ; 
he shall cry, yea, he shall shout aloud; he 
shall do mightily against his enemies. By the 
strength of his hand and in his power, he is 
established in his stronghold, the fourth post, 
which is his place of encampment in the begin- 
ning of his reign. 

The Queen doth stand at his right hand ; he 
looketh upon her with favor. 

Nigh unto them are two Horsemen mounted 
upon fed horses ; at their right and at their left 
is an Elephant, and a War-car on either side. 



134 SOWGS OF EXILE 

These are the generals and officers, such as 
have ability to stand. Facing these in full 
array, stand two opposing lines of warriors. 

The same are the mighty men which were 
of old. Such are their positions, and the stand- 
ards of their camps, according to their families, 
according to their fathers' houses. 

Come, let us take our fill of love, and I will 
give thee a place of access between these that 
stand by. I will display before thee the march- 
ings and counter-marchings of this army, and I 
will explain in lucid words how the battle is 
turned back at the gate. 

When the King marcheth from place to place 
in his dominion, there is but one law for him, 
whether his course be flank-wise or straight ; 
all that he desiretli he doeth ; but his heart is 
not ambitious to extend his range in battle, lest 
he should die in the war. 

The Elephants advance three paces without 



SKETCH OF THE GAME OF CHESS 135 

divergence, in oblique direction, bent in their 
path on victory, and they turn not aside. Behold 
them tramping forth, and whither they go, they 
work utter desolation. 

And the Horsemen set themselves in array 
at the gate. Each hath his sword girt at his 
side. The glory of the snorting is terrible. 
They pace one stage straight across the field, 
and take another step in an oblique direction, 
before they halt in face of the enemy. 

Before the War-cars lies but a straight path, 
their movement being the same on their four 
sides. They turn not when they go. They 
march along the whole length of the path which 
is before them. If they prevail by strength, 
none assaileth them ; but should the commanders 
or servants of the hostile King stand before 
them, gone is their power to pass. Nor by 
their multitude, nor by their wealth can they 
deviate from the course already taken. Notwith- 



136 SONGS OF EXILE 

standing the great strength of this officer, one 
of the lowest rank of the enemy may suddenly 
capture him, when he deemeth himself in a 
place of safety. 

When the war rageth, the King avoideth 
standing at the extremity of the battle-field, far 
from his troops ; and thither he attempteth not 
to go, nor is he seen there, nor found there, un- 
less one of his warriors stand before him, as a 
shield and as a safeguard to conceal his person 
from all men. If he arise again and walk abroad 
upon his staff, after he hath been seen, he 
waxeth in his wrath ; he goeth and hideth him- 
self behind a wall or fortress, and he fleeth and 
escapeth from the battle. 

Behold, I have laid before thee goodly words, 
to teach thee to obey the King's commands and 
his decree whithersoever they may reach thee. 
And concerning these men who draw near, have 
I not written unto thee excellent things? I 



SKETCH OF THE GAME OF CHESS 137 

have shown thee the laws of the contest, its 
genius, and its principles, and every sign ; and 
there lacketh not one about whom I have not 
written. 

Excepting that we have not yet spoken of the 
woman. She sitteth at the top of the high 
places by the city. She is clamorous and wilful 
in her way. She girdeth her loins with 
strength. Her feet abide not in her house. 
She moveth in all directions, and turneth about 
her. Her evolutions are wonderful, her ardor 
untiring. How beautiful are her steps across 
the plain ! 

And the King, clad in black garments, stand- 
eth at the fourth post, which is white, over 
against the next post, which is black, where 
standeth his Queen. He draweth nigh unto the 
thick darkness. His eye is upon her, for he 
hath married an Ethiopian woman. They shall 
come out against thee one way, with one move- 



138 SONGS Of EXILE 

ment and one journey. If they be not cautious, 
as the one dieth, so dieth the other. 

But the black King is strong when there 
standeth before him a great and numerous and 
powerful people, serving him in the field of 
battle as a strong army. For they dare advance 
and bravely leap from place to place. Their 
feet are straight feet, but if it be their will to 
capture prisoners or spoil, they may diverge to 
either flank. One of them may gain power 
and increase in strength. Should he reach the 
haven of his desire, lo ! he skippeth as a hart ! 
Then is he swifter than the eagles of heaven, he 
hasteneth his steps, and doeth that in which his 
soul delighteth, even all that the woman doeth. 

And now the two Kings intrigue against each 
other, and pursue each other unto the death. 
One is embarrassed in the fight ; and when he 
resteth in his place, an officer of the enemy may 
command him to go forth from his boundary, 



SKETCH OF THE GAME OF CHESS 139 

lest he should smite him with destruction. He 
may retreat in any direction ; but if in striving 
to escape his feet be caught in the snare set by 
the warriors that surround him, then is his glory 
turned unto destruction. Ah, lord ! ah, for his 
glory ! And his people who are left after him 
are as nothing ; for of what account are they ? 
In one moment the mighty men are subdued, 
and the commander is brought low, he is thrust 
out, he boweth down, and he falleth. The King 
who hath striven against him bringeth him 
down from his greatness, until not a remnant is 
left unto him. Then is he overthrown and cut off 
from his position and honor. How can one pur- 
sue a thousand ! That one is left in glory and 
majesty, and the other dieth in bitterness of soul. 
Thus shall perish all the enemies of the King, 
and they that seek his evil ; but they that love 
him shall be as the sun when he goeth forth in 
his glory. 



140 SONGS OF EXILE 



POEM 

ON CHESS 



This POEM ON CHESS is by an anonymous author. 
The manuscript is to be found in the Vatican. The date 
assigned to it by Steinschneider is the fifteenth or six- 
teenth century, but it is probably earlier. 



POEM ON CHESS 141 



IPoem on Cbess 

'"THE Kings have met on the battle plain, 

And war upriseth betwixt the twain. 
Alike in number is either band, 
And face to face do the armies stand. 
Devoid of sword and of spear their strife ; 
Within their mouths is no breath of life. 
In crafty guise is their battle fought ; 
With cunning art is their contest wrought. 
When these prevail o'er their foemen all, 
Behold, 'tis then that the dead men fall. 
Yet they from death may arise again, 
And cast their enemies 'mid the slain. 
Their halt and marching will I relate, 
Each one in order of rank and state. 
The King, he standeth beside the Queen ; 
Horses and Elephants nigh are seen. 
There stand two chariots likewise here ; 



142 SONGS OF EXILE 

And facing, warriors, each his peer. 
The King and Queen o'er two paces range ; 
Yet are their movements diverse and strange. 
Three steps the Elephants, never more ; 
The Horses turn to their quarters four ; 
And straight the Chariots forward fly, 
Sideways and backward the foe defy. 
In craft each warrior's bow is bent : 
Vanquished by science, the foe is spent. 
In ancient lore are their ways oft told : 
Behold them writ in the books of old. 



THE DEA TH OF MOSES 143 

tTbc E>eatb of tmeses 

FROM MIDRASH TANCHUMA 

IN the hour when the Holy One, blessed be 
He, said unto Moses : " Get thee up into this 
mountain .... and die," " Now," thought 
the Angel of Death, " hath the Holy One given 
me dominion over the soul of Moses." And he 
appeared and stood before him. 

Then spake Moses : " The Holy One, blessed 
be He, hath promised me that He will not give 
me over into thine hand." 

And the Angel answered : " The Holy One, 
blessed be He, hath sent me unto thee; for thou 
shalt pass away this day." 

Then said Moses unto him : " Get thee hence ; 
for I seek to extol the Holy One. ' I shall not 
die, but live, and declare the works of the 
Lord.' " 

"Why vaunt thyself?" spake the Angel, 



144 SOJVGS OF EXILE 

"There be others to sing His praises. Lo! 
'the Heavens declare the glory of God.' ' 

And Moses said : " The Heavens are still 
when I extol Him, as it is written : ' Give ear, 
ye Heavens, and I will speak.' ' 

The Angel of Death again approached unto 
him. Moses pronounced the tremendous Name, 
and the Angel fled ; as it is said : " For I will 
proclaim the Name of the Lord." 

Once more the Angel of Death drew nigh. 
Then thought Moses : " It may be that he cometh 
bid by Heaven, and that I must bow before the 
just decree. 'The Rock, His work is perfect.' " 

The soul of Moses wrestled to go forth ; and 
he restrained her, saying : " O my soul ! what 
sayest thou ? For the Angel of Death seeketh 
to gain dominion over thee." 

She spake : " It cannot be. For the Holy 
One, blessed be He, hath promised me that He 
will not give me over into his hand." 



THE DEA TH OF MOSES 145 

"Nay, but thou sayest thou hast seen the 
people weeping, and thou didst weep with 
them." 

She said : " Thou hast delivered my soul from 
death, mine eyes from tears " 

" But thou fearest to be thrust into the grave." 

She said : "and my feet from falling." 

And of his soul he asked : " Whither wilt thou 
take thy flight in realms unknown?" 

She answered : " I shall walk before the Lord 
in the land of the living." 

When Moses heard these words, he said unto 
her : " ' Return unto thy rest, O my soul ; for 
the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.' " 

As he passed away, a voice went up from 
earth : " Moses commanded us a Law, an in- 
heritance for the assembly of Jacob." 

And the Heavens answered : " He executed 
the justice of the Lord, and His judgments with 
Israel." 



146 SONGS Of EXILE 

Yea, the Holy One, blessed be He, Himself 
in His glory proclaimed his praise: "And there 
hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like 
unto Moses." 



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